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Bill Farquharson

The Sales Challenge

By Bill Farquharson

About Bill

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."


Beating Call Reluctance


This blog is for you if:

  • Your palms are sweaty just reading its title;
  • You dread making calls...even to family and friends;
  • Don Corleone put a gun to your head and promised you “something bad would happen” if you didn’t make a cold call and you actually considered the option as a step up.

For the rest of you who are feeling pretty superior because you have no such trepidation when it comes to calling strangers and asking them to give you money, take five. Actually, scratch that. Go ahead and skip this lesson and make calls, you big show off.

Okay, I’m going to pass around paper bags in case you get queazy while reading. Yes, it can be that bad. I get it. But let’s see if we can’t give you some ideas for overcoming this fear.

Idea #1: Warm up with some “friendlies.” Line up, say, three phone calls to existing clients prior to prospecting. This gets you comfortable with the process and calms your inner child (the one typically in the fetal position sucking on his/her binky). Use the positive feelings from the warm up calls to roll right into the scarier cold calls.

Idea #2: Do some research prior to the call. In fact, don’t call until you have something of value to say. You want to feel good about how you finish the sentence that starts, “The purpose of my call is...” Done correctly and you will have learned the most important lesson there is when prospecting.

Idea #3: Practice your lines. Practice your lines. Practice your lines. Say it. Say it again. Keep saying it. Say it when you are alone. Then, say it to a friend or a coworker. It’s called “roll playing” and it will help tremendously.

Idea #4: Pick a number. Pick a time. That is, commit to making a set number of calls before a certain time. Example: two calls before 9:00am or five before noon. Deadlines get tasks done.

Idea #5: Reward yourself. Make the calls. Get a cookie. Okay, maybe not a cookie (unless you like cookies, in which case I suggest Pepperidge Farms’ Sausalito). Keep it simple and make it fun.

To the best of my knowledge, there aren’t any telethons planned to raise money and awareness over the problem, but maybe there should be. Call reluctance lives between the ears and vacations on the shoulder where it whispers discouraging thoughts. You can’t kill it. It’ll never be totally dead. But you can keep it quiet for a time with some good old fashioned George W. Bush strategy.

And a cookie.

Bill Farquharson is a Vice President at NAPL. His training programs can drive the sales of print reps and selling owners. Check out his Sales Resources page and contact him at (781) 934-7036 or

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